January 9, 2023: British drugmaker GSK Plc., will pay $1.4 billion to acquire Anglo-American biopharmaceutical company Aiolos Bio Inc., which makes medicines to treat asthma.
GSK will pay a $1 billion upfront payment and up to $400 million in certain “success-based regulatory milestone payments,” according to a statement.
The acquisition provides GSK with access to Aiolos’ AIO-001, a potentially long-acting anti-thymic stromal lymphopoietin (TSLP) monoclonal antibody, ready to enter phase II clinical development for the treatment of adult patients with asthma.
The drug also could be used for additional indications including chronic rhinosinusitis with nasal polyps. AIO-001 was exclusively licensed to Aiolos outside Greater China by Jiangsu Hengrui Pharmaceuticals Co., Ltd. (Hengrui).
GSK would be responsible for success-based milestone payments as well as tiered royalties owed to Hengrui.
Asthma affects 235 million people worldwide. In the US United States, one in 12 people (about 25 million) had asthma in 2009, compared with 1 in 14 (approximately 20 million) in 2001, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
A significant proportion of morbidity and public health expenditure related to asthma results from acute exacerbations of asthma.
Although only 20% of patients with asthma experience an asthma exacerbation annually, the cost of treating exacerbations accounts for more than 80% of the total direct costs of asthma.
Asthma exacerbations involve acute or subacute episodes of progressively worsening shortness of breath, cough, wheezing, and chest tightness or some combination of these symptoms, along with decreases in expiratory airflow.
Adding AIO-001 and targeting the TSLP pathway, could expand GSK’s reach of the current respiratory biologics portfolio, Tony Wood, Chief Scientific Officer, GSK, said.
The addition would also help severe asthma patients “with low T2 inflammation where treatment options are still needed,” he said. Type 2 immune responses in the airway involve the accumulation of eosinophils, mast cells, and basophils.
AIO-001 could be administered every six months due to its enhanced potency and half-life extension technology, which could redefine the standard of care, according to the GSK statement.
Founded in 2023, Aiolos Bio is a San Francisco, USA and London, UK-based clinical-stage company formed to develop medicines for respiratory diseases.